Trade unions are voluntary organizations of workers or employers formed to promote and protect their interests through collective action.
According to the Trade Union Act 1926 it is a combination, whether temporary or permanent, formed
(i) primarily for the purpose of regulating the relation between
(a) workmen and employers or
(b) between workmen and workmen, or
(c) between employers and employers, or
(ii) for imposing restrictive conditions on the conduct of any trade or business, and includes any federation of two or more trade unions. Cont.
Nature of Trade Union cont.
The analysis reveals that Trade Union is :-
1. A combination of workers or employers.
2. Such a combination could be permanent or temporary.
3. Could include federation of two or more unions, and
4. To regulate relations among workmen, between workmen and employers or among employers themselves.
Meaning of Trade Union
A trade union is an organization of workers that is formed with a view of protecting and promoting the interests of workers.
‘ A trade union is an association of employees designed primarily to maintain or improve the conditions of employment of its members’.
‘ A trade union is a continuous association of wage-earners for the purpose of maintaining or improving the conditions of their working force’ “Beatric Webb”
‘ A trade union is such an organization which is created, voluntarily on the basis of collective strength to secure the interests of workers’. “V.V. Giri”
“ A union is a continuous association of persons in industry-whether employer or independent workers- formed primarily for the purpose of the pursuit of the interests of its members of the trade they represent”.
Principles of Trade Unionism
Trade unions function on the basis of three fundamental principles.
Unity is strength.
Equal pay for equal work or for the same job.
Security of service.
Why do Workers Join Trade Unions?
To attain economic security- permanent employment with higher salary and benefits.
To improve their bargaining power or resist the management’s irrational, illogical and discriminatory actions.
To inform worker’s views, ideas aims and dissatisfaction to the management.
To satisfy social needs.
To satisfy their needs for a sense of belonging.
To secure power.
Sense of Participation
Betterment of Relationships.
Functions of Trade Union
The basic functions of trade unions is to protect and promote the interest of the workers and conditions of their employment.
Ensuring adequate wages, better working conditions and better treatment from employers
fight with the management in the form of strikes, boycotts, gheraos etc.
Achieve higher wages and better working conditions.
Raise the status of workers as a part of industry and
Protect labour against victimisation and injustice.
Providing financial and non-financial assistance to workers
Extension of medical facilities during sickness and casualties,
Provision of education, recreation, and housing facilities,
Provision of religious and social benefits.
To encourage sincerity and discipline among workers.
To provide opportunities for promotion and growth.
Social Functions :- carrying out social service activities
discharging social responsibilities through various sections of the society like educating the customers.
Political Functions :-
Affiliating a union to a political party
Helping the political party in enrolling members
Seeking the help of political parties during the strikes and lockouts .
Ancillary Functions :-
Communication : trade union communicates its activities, programmes, decisions achievements etc, through publication of news letter.
Welfare Activities : acquiring of house sites, construction of houses, establishment of co-operative housing societies, organising training activities etc.
(iii) Education : educational facilities to its members and their family members.
(iv) Research : arrange to conduct research programme.
collect and analyse data and information for collective bargaining, preparing notes for union officials.
Types and Structure of Trade Unions
According to the purpose for which they are established
Types of their membership
Trade unions based on their purposes :-
Reformist Unions : aims to preserve the capitalist economy and maintenance of competitive production based industrial relations.
like to continue the existing social, economic and political structure.
Seek to improve the wages, working conditions, quality of work life by increasing the productivity level and by bargaining for a share in the increased productivity.
Reformist further divided into
Business Union : They believe in congenial employee-employer relation , protect the workers interest by participating in collective bargaining, prefer voluntary arbitration and conciliation
Uplift Union : they concentrate on education, health insurance and benefits, aspire to elevate the moral, intellectual and social life of workers, these unions are interest-conscious of the workers.
Revolutionary Unions :-
They aim at replacing the present system with the new and different situations that are preferable.
aims at destroying the capitalistic system
abolish private property and installing socialist or communistic systems.
Revolutionary divided into 2 types
Political Unions : gain power through political actions. These resort to political action to protect the worker’s interest.
Anarchist Unions : try to destroy the existing economic system by revolutionary means.
Trade Union Structure
Craft Unions if the workers of the same craft or category of the job form into an union, that union is called Craft union. Such organizations include those workers having similar skills, training and specialization. The Ahmedabad Weaver’s Union, the Kanpur Suti Mill Mazdoor Sabha
General Unions if the workers of any industry, any region and of any job or occupation form into one union in order to protect the overall interests of the workers
The Jamshedpur labour Union, the National Union of Municipal and General Workers
Industrial Unions workers of different categories form into a union that is called industrial union. It links all craftsmen and skilled workers in any one industry. It is organized upon and industry-wise rather than a craft-wise basis.
Textile Labour Association of Ahmedabad, The Rashtriya Mill Mazdoor Sangh, Bombay.
Federations : Industrial unions, either of same industry or of the different industry may form into an association in order to improve Trade Union Unity. Such Unions of Unions are called federations. During critical situations the unions in different industries may resort to concerted action without losing their individuality. In such situation the federations form into an Association and such and association is called Confederation.
Eg; Federation of Indian Railways
Trade Union Act, 1926
Provide for registration of T.U.
Confers certain protection and privileges.
1- Formation and Registration :- 7 members can form a trade union and may apply to the registrar of Trade Unions for registration.
2- Application accompanied by Schedule :- I, II and bye law and a resolution authorizing 7 members of the union to make an application for registration of the union
Registration Fees Rs. 500/
After making necessary enquiry the registrar
3- issues a registration certificate:-
It may be cancelled or withdrawn
on the application of a trade union in Form-D or
If the registrar is satisfied that the certificate is obtained by fraud or the trade union has ceased to exist or wilfully and after notice from the registrar contravened any provisions of the Act.
4- Appeal person aggrieved :- by any order of the registrar may appeal within 2 months to the Civil Court not inferior to the court of Additional or Assistant Principal Civil Court
5- Change of Name :- any registered trade union may with the consent of not less than 2/3 of its total members may make application in Form H, for the change of its name.
6- Annual Returns :- Every union shall send annual returns to the registrar in triplicate on or before the Ist day of June of the year succeeding the calendar year in Form-L in case of individual trade unions and in Form-LL in case of federation of trade unions.
Obligations of Registered Trade Unions
The general funds of a registered trade union should be spent only for the objects specified.
The account books and membership register of the union should be kept open for inspection by any of its office-bearers.
A copy of every alteration made in the rules of the union should be sent to the Registrar with in 15 days of making the alteration.
An annual statement of receipts and expenditure and assets and liabilities of the union for the year ending 31 st December in a prescribed form and duly audited be sent to the Registrar within the prescribed time.